N.C. County School Board Removes ‘Invisible Man’ From Library Shelves

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by Associated Press

RAMSEUR, N.C. — The Randolph County School Board has voted to take Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man from its library shelves after a parent complained.

The Asheboro Courier-Tribune reports the board voted 5-2 at its meeting this week to remove all copies of the book.

Committees at both the school and district levels recommended that the book remain in the libraries. A motion to keep the book on the shelves was defeated.

Board members took the action on Monday in response to a complaint from the mother of a Randleman student who said the book was “too much for teenagers.”

“You must respect all religions and point of views when it comes to the parents and what they feel is age appropriate for their young children to read, without their knowledge,” Kimiyutta Parson wrote in her complaint. “This book is freely in your library for them to read.”

Parson also objected to the book’s language and sexual content.

Invisible Man was one of three books from which rising Randleman High School juniors could choose for summer reading for the 2013-14 school year. The others on the list were Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin and Passing by Nella Larsen. Honors students had to choose two books.

The book is also on a list of suggested supplemental works for high school students compiled by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. A school-based, six-member media advisory committee recommended it not be removed from the library, and a 10-member district panel unanimously voted to keep the book on library shelves.

Invisible Man is a first-person narrative by a Black man who considers himself socially invisible. It was originally published in 1952.

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